Originally from the reservation Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico, Jaque Fragua straddles the charismatic and the political, weaving them together to create stunning murals and paintings that shed light on the oppression and invisibility of native peoples, and the appropriation of their cultures. In an interview with Native X, Fragua says, “There is always that tension between tradition and contemporary or modern. And that is not only with the art work itself, but with the culture, the people.” His work often incorporates traditional patterns and aesthetics, but is born of the low art and street art movements.
Fragua says, “There is always this argument between what works, what we can progress with and what we want to hold on to. And I think that’s why Native art as a whole is relevant—it is not moving so fast, it’s eternal. We don’t adopt new technology and test it blindly. A lot is at stake for Native culture because of our sensitive history. A lot of Native communities don’t want to jump the gun and try out a new method without the proper due diligence. But this is also a flaw because it inhibits our creativity, and the possibilities of solutions. I feel that healing involves letting go and making mistakes and understanding the strength in failing.” Fragua works across media, incorporating collage and found objects in his work, which includes paintings, murals, and sculptures.